The odds tilted slightly in Esperance's favour as the Tunisian side forced a 0-0 draw at Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the first leg of the CAF Champions League final.
Esperance host the return match on the outskirts of Tunis next Saturday with a place in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan up for grabs.
It is the third time the clubs have drawn in the competition this season with Wydad coming from two goals down at home to secure a 2-2 draw last August, while there were no goals when they clashed again two weeks later.
Although the Tunisian 'Blood and Gold' will be thrilled to have survived 90 minutes at the Mohanmmed V Stadium without conceding a goal, they did the same in the 1999 final against Raja Casablanca only to ultimately lose on penalties.
Wydad were the superior side during the first half with defender Yassine Rami and joint leading scorer Fabrice Ondama from Congo Brazzaville going close to breaking the deadlock as Esperance regularly had to backpedal.
But the clash of clubs who won the premier Pan-African club competition once each during the 1990s turned in the closing stages with the visitors pressing for an away goal with Mejdi Traoui and Khaled Mouelhi not far off target.